All You Need to Know about Douching and Vaginal Infections

Some women use douches with the hope that washing or rinsing the vagina with water, vinegar, apple cider vinegar, sodium bicarbonate or iodine can eliminate vaginal infection.

Douching removes some of the normal bacteria in the vagina that protect it from the infection that increases the risks of STIs, including HIV. Gynecologists recommend that women should avoid douching too much. Washing the vulva externally with warm water and mild soap is enough to keep vagina clean.

Here's everything you need to know about douching for vaginal infections. Let's understand if vaginal douching is useful for you or harmful.

Vaginal Douching
Effect of vaginal douching

Here' All you need to know about douching and vaginal infections

Vagina has a natural odor, with each one with its unique smell. Sometimes, the vagina can change in odor due to natural causes like period or when its fluids come into contact with semen during sex. This usually wreaks havoc on most women, trying to get rid of it by douching. 

Douching is common in America, with an estimated 20%-40% of American women in the age bracket of 15-44 practicing it. They claim that douching helps with vaginal freshening, removes unpleasant odors, and prevents them from getting pregnant and contracting STIs.

But, according to doctors, douching doesn't help in any of the above. Knowing your status by getting STD testing, using protection, and abstaining, are the only ways of preventing STIs.

Instead, it can lead to health problems, increase the risk of infections, and lead to pregnancy complications. 

What is douching?

Douching is an act of washing inside the vagina with water, although some women use even other mixtures of fluids. Douches are sold in stores and mostly consist of water, vinegar, iodine, or baking soda. There are a few containing antiseptics and fragrances.

The douches can either come in a bottle or bag, which you can squirt through the nozzle into the vagina. 

Is douching safe?

Experts recommend that women not douche as it can do more harm than good to the vagina and the overall body's health. The vagina has vaginal flora- the bacteria that ensures your vagina stays healthy and prevents infection by keeping the harmful bacteria in check. This means that your vagina can clean itself and maintain the PH balance.

Douching can put vaginal flora off balance, allowing the overgrowth of harmful bacteria that can lead to infection, irritation, and other complications in the vagina. 

Effects of douching

Washing your vagina with water and a mild soap is okay, but washing it with douches that contain fragrances, antiseptic, and other mixtures can irritate your vagina and lead to infections like yeast infections. Effects of douching include:

Bacterial vaginosis

Douching interferes with the natural balance in the vagina, giving harmful bacteria a favorable environment to grow, thus causing infection; bacterial vaginosis. This infection can increase your chances of having preterm labor and STIs. 

Yeast infections

The overgrowth of fungi causes yeast infection. Douching can cause PH imbalance in the vagina leading to the overgrowth of fungi and causing an infection. 

Pelvic inflammatory disease (PID)

Pelvic inflammatory disease is an infection that occurs in the reproductive organs like the fallopian tube, ovaries, and uterus, mostly due to sexually transmitted diseases. 

If you douche when having STD, it will push the bacteria or virus, causing the STD further to the reproductive organs, thus causing PID. 

Pregnancy complications

Women who douche have difficulty getting pregnant and can experience pregnancy complications like miscarriages and early childbirth. Douching can also lead to ectopic pregnancy. 


Though there are douches in the stores, you should not use them. Your vagina has a natural way of cleaning itself, and it doesn't in an external cleaning. However, use water and mild soap if you have to clean it. 

Avoid using scented soaps that may interfere with the vaginal flora, as this could lead to bacterial vaginosis, yeast infections, PID, and pregnancy complications.

The Scientific World

The Scientific World is a Scientific and Technical Information Network that provides readers with informative & educational blogs and articles. Site Admin: Mahtab Alam Quddusi - Blogger, writer and digital publisher.

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